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Commentary :: Labor & Class

UVA living wage continues

Charlottesville doesn't look like a town where 25 percent of the residents
live in poverty, but that's only because the poor people's housing is
cunningly hidden off the main roads, so the UVa alumni who pour in every
fall for Cavalier games don't have to see it. If you shop at the upscale
Barracks Road Shopping Center instead of Sam's Club, if you drive instead of
taking the buses, you could live here indefinitely thinking everything is
just fine, thank you, ma'am -- unaware of the desperation going on within a
two-mile radius.

But I know the true state of things in this lovely Blue Ridge mountain town,
because I've been hanging out with the Virginia Organizing Project folks
ever since I moved here in 2001 -- agitating for a living wage in the local
hotels as well as the university, which is the largest local employer.
Another one of my informants is a lady who works behind the deli counter at
Whole Foods, and the fact that she does so tells you a lot about wages at
UVa: She has another full-time job there as a housekeeper.


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